James L. MacGillivray


Having dedicating 36 years to his legal career, Jim retired in 2022.

Jim practiced in the area of civil litigation with an emphasis on insurance, commercial, employment, and construction matters. Jim also advised clients on employment and bankruptcy and insolvency matters. He is a former instructor at the Bar Admission Program, teaching Trial Advocacy. Jim received a BA in Political Science from St. Mary’s University in 1981, earned his Bachelor of Law degree from Dalhousie University Faculty of Law in 1984, and was called to the Ontario Bar in 1986.

Representative Work

  • Successfully represented a general contractor at Trial and at the Court of Appeal on two separate projects where the interpretation of the scope of work agreed upon by the parties was at issue.
  • Advised a local school board on the construction of a school. Despite a litigated dispute with the Phase I contractor and ongoing issues arising on Phase II of the construction, the school board was able to complete the construction of the school.
  • Represented several companies and their principals through protracted bankruptcy and insolvency litigation stemming from the bankruptcy of a local developer. The issues, which were dealt with on first instance and on appeal ranged from the right of a Trustee in Bankruptcy to access lawyers’ files to allegations of fraudulent conveyances and intention to defeat creditors.

Professional Affiliations

  • Law Society of Ontario
  • Canadian Bar Association
  • Ontario Bar Association
  • Carleton County Law Association

Community Involvement

  • Former member of the Richmond Village Association
  • Former Board Member and Chair of the Finance Committee, Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre
  • RSR United Way Campaign Organizer

When he’s not in the office

Jim hails from Cape Breton Island and arrived in Ottawa with his wife, Karen in 1984. He is an avid hiker and cyclist. Over the years his interests have ranged from martial arts to ballroom dancing. He is currently trying to come to grips with his Taylor guitar.

I have referred several people to Melody MacDonell over the years. She is extremely knowledgeable, professional and efficient. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend anyone at Rasmussen Starr Ruddy.

— Dawna Christy

A big thank you to Melody and her staff. Melody is straight forward and knows her stuff. Although going through a separation is hard, I was very confident things would work out in my favor. And they did. Looking forward to the next new chapter to begin. Thanks again Melody.

— Kristina Dowsley

I don’t know what I would have done without them. You may not remember every word they say, but you’ll never forget how they make you feel.

— Judy Everson

Their personal skills are great: they’re very easy to deal with. I question a lot and they’re very accommodating.

— Donna Lea Andrews, Andrews Brothers Construction (Ottawa) Ltd.

I like the fact that I can pick up the phone and talk to my lawyer, not an assistant. Other firms are getting too big to provide personal service.

— Ken Crawford, C&M Electric

They have a clear understanding of our business and are very responsive. The partners are well respected among their peers.

— Jonathan Westeinde, Windmill Developments

They’re prompt, intelligent, give good advice, and charge reasonable rates.

— Stan Neathery, Integrating Solutions Inc.